Saudi Arabia is thinking for barring overseas pilgrims from the annual haj for the second year running as covid-19 cases rise globally and worries grow about the grow of new variants, two sources familiar with the matter this time.

Such action would restrict the pilgrimage to Mecca for performing haj 2021, once in a life duty for every capable muslim who can afford it, to Saudi nationals and residents of the kingdom who were vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 at least months prior to attending.

Coronavirus infections are still rising in 35 countries globally. There have been at least 153,508,000 reported infections and 3,351,000 reported deaths caused by the new variant.

Rush of millions of pilgrims around the world could be a fact for virus transmission, and in the past some worshippers have returned to their countries with respiratory and other diseases.

In Feb 2021, the ministry cancelled entry to the kingdom from 20 countries, with the exception of diplomats, Saudi citizens, medical practitioners and their spouces, to help in breaking the spread of the new variant of coronavirus.

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